Chapter 7, “Beyond Technical Virginity”, was written mainly to women but the message is good for everyone.
Saving yourself for marriage isn’t only about sex, it has to do with integrity. Looking to do everything you can short of having sex is not the way to look at it. In fact even if you aren’t doing anything you may not have the right attitude. Making out with people, searching for the next relationship, or whatever it may be…how does it affect your future marriage? If you aren’t ready to get married what are you doing? Are you focusing on becoming a person of integrity or are you focusing on doing whatever you feel like doing?
I haven’t really thought about these things until recently but I’ve realized for a long time I had the wrong idea. I thought if I just kept searching for the right girl I would find her. I never stopped to think “am I the right guy?”. I don’t think I am the right guy yet. I’ve focused so much on what I was looking for since high school that I haven’t thought much about myself. What would my future spouse be looking for? What kind of person do I want to be for her? Those are the questions I should be asking. In the mean time I should probably work on myself and see where God leads me. I shouldn’t be worried about finding the right girl. I should worry about being the right guy so that when I find the right girl I will be ready.
Chapter 6 was called “A Forever Kind of Love”. It had some good stories but in the end it came down to one thing. Love is more than just a feeling, it is a choice. What does that mean? It means you don’t fall in love, you choose to love someone. It isn’t all about the butterflies. It is about a commitment to another person. In fact they brought up something profound that I would agree with. Dating does not get people ready for marriage. Well at least the dating that people these days think of. If you base your relationship on how “in love” you feel then eventually that relationship will fail. Why? Because you won’t always feel “in love” but that isn’t a problem because the best thing about love is that it is more than a feeling. The problem with dating is if you dump people after you “fall out of love” you will think that is how it is supposed to go. It will form some bad habits in preparation for marriage because that is not how it works…or at least that is not how it is supposed to.
Chapter 5 is called Get a Love Life. I’m going to take a different approach to this one and kind of just write out what I learned from this chapter as if I was talking to myself.
I feel like todays culture makes people focus a lot on their “love life”. A lot of people are concerned with where they are going to find a girlfriend or who they are going to marry. This chapter addresses that and talks about what faithfulness really looks like.
So if you’ve ever thought about your future spouse much you’ve probably realized that they are around somewhere right now. You’ve probably wondered what they were doing. Maybe you haven’t…but lets just say you have. What if they getting intimate with another person right now? I know how I’d feel, I’d be kind of upset. I want my future wife to be pure!
Thats good…God likes purity, but you have to ask yourself if you desire purity in your future spouse…how much more do you think they desire purity in you? BOOM! Weren’t expecting that were you?
One common reaction is to probably think, “well they aren’t thinking about me and with the way our culture is they probably aren’t pure so why should I be?”
The answer is, that shouldn’t be your motivation. It is better to give than receive. You can only control your own choices so make the right ones regardless of whether or not they are.
We all hunger for love but what we may not realize is that instead of focusing on the way other people live and love we have to focus on the way we live and love. You will find it when you finally focus on honoring her before you meet, even if she never considered honoring you in return.
Purity goes more than skin deep. Your entire body - everything from your heart to your mind to the skin that holds it all in place is a treasure. The problem is we tend to view purity as only an external thing, thinking as long as we’re not having sex, we are supposedly pure. NOT TRUE.
If your future spouse followed you around through out your day, every day of your life, would they feel cherished and adored by you as you interact with the opposite sex? Would they feel loved by your actions or feel hurt that you are giving away what belongs only to them?
If you wait until the very last possible moment to be committed to that person you are going to spend the rest of your life with it is kind of like not ever touching a basketball in your life and then trying out for the Harlem Globetrotters. How do you expect to be faithful to your spouse if you can’t even practice purity now? You need to practice purity for your spouse and cherishing that person with your thoughts, actions, and words long before you ever even meet them.
Wait a second, so are you saying you should suppress sexuality?! I’m sorry but that just sounds totally unrealistic. We’re sexual beings, we can’t help it so why should we be pure, whats the big deal?
We’ll get to that in a second but lets take a look at what God has to say.
Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. (Ephesians 5:3)
Must not even be named among you…I don’t think it gets any clearer than that. Sexual immorality, all impurity, or covetousness…that pretty much covers what you do, think, or say.
Yes God does love us and He forgives us, but we also cannot forget that God is holy and we are also called to be holy.
God has set up a clear pattern for a beautiful romance. We cannot experience the kind of love, sex, and intimacy we long for unless we follow His pattern. And His pattern is purity. Following His pattern means living in absolute faithfulness - body, mind, and heart - to one person for a lifetime.
God designed purity not to hinder us or make us miserable, but to protect us from heartache and to free us to experience His highest and best. When we realize this we can finally start to realize why purity is so important.
Remember what I said in the last post, it isn’t about rules. God doesn’t tell us to be pure just for the heck of it, He knows what is best for us. He wants to protect us, he wants us to have the best. If we are anxious and try to find it before it is our time we will be disappointed. The more we practice purity the closer we will be to God and ultimately the closer we will be to our future spouse. It will be so much more enjoyable because our mindset won’t be tainted. In purity we will be able to experience love on so many more levels than we could ever imagine. I don’t know myself but I can only imagine how worth waiting for it will be. I’ve been down the other road, I know where it leads, and it was totally unfulfilling.
Sexuality is like fire. When kept in its rightful place, a fire adds the beauty of warmth and light to a home. But if fire escapes its proper context, it can burn down the entire house in a matter of minutes.
I know what it feels like to have the house on fire, it is not fun. It is not worth it. Thankfully God does forgive, He will put out the fire, He will rebuild the house, but only if the fire remains in the fireplace. Putting out the fire is not easy though, especially with the culture we live in and the pressure it puts on us. We cannot do it alone, only by surrendering to God, by calling the Fire Department can it be managed. Our tiny bucket will never be able to extinguish the inferno. Only a Fireman who has access to the Fire Hydrant can put it out.
Getting back to the sexuality question. Purity is not about suppressing sexuality. Living in purity means allowing the Spirit of God to overtake your life so you are no longer living to feed the selfish cravings of the flesh. It means you are consumed with honoring God and your future spouse.
I struggled with this for a long time. First I tried following the rules…that didn’t work. Then I decided I wanted to honor God by following the rules…that didn’t work. Then I decided I was going honor God but I was really just following the rules…that didn’t work either. The only thing that “worked” was when I realized that anything I try to do isn’t going to work. Trying to do it myself is trying to build God into my life it…it doesn’t work that way….building my life around God is how it works. It is about doing what God wants, not what I want, not doing what I think God wants, it is being dependent on Him, trusting Him and realizing when I try to take over is when I will fail.
Purity is not merely the absence of sexual indulgence, but the presence of God’s Spirit in every dimension of our life.
Trying to be pure doesn’t work because that is substituting purity for God. You are striving to be pure instead of striving to be God’s. Only when God consumes every aspect of your life do you become pure, and at that point trying isn’t necessary.
In the true Christian life, we are to be so caught up in our relationship with Christ that we no longer life to serve ourselves, but Him. When that happens, our desires become His desires. We actually begin to value and love the things that He values and loves, like purity. And we aren’t walking around trying to suppress our sexuality; rather, purity naturally flows from our life. It becomes our joy and privilege to live in a way that honors God and our future spouse. Purity of the mind and body is a natural outflow of a pure, cleansed, Christ-consumed heart.
Sex is like bears. You ever go camping and see the signs that say don’t feed the bears. If you aren’t married don’t feed your sexual fantasies. Like the bears you may like them at first and you may continue feeding them but sooner or later they’ll be taking all the food you’ve got and tearing your cabin apart. The only way to make them go away is to stop feeding them. The same goes with sex.
I know this might seem drastic but it is worth it. Seriously, if you have to don’t go see a movie that could hurt your purity. Don’t watch that TV show where they sleep around and talk about sex the whole time. Don’t listen to that sexually explicit music. Get an internet filter…find an accountability partner. But don’t do these things because you need rules to help you, do them because you are living a godly life and you don’t want any bad influences. Maybe these things don’t bother you, it is up to you to decide what you can and can’t handle and God will help you. The point is don’t consciously put yourself in a situation where you know you are going to struggle.
Finally, remember that not only are you doing this for your future spouse but more importantly it is for God.
Even if we never get married, nothing we do in guarding our hearts, filtering our thoughts, and cherishing our future spouse by the way we live will be wasted. It is not merely for our future marriage here on earth that we do these things; it is also an investment in our glorious future marriage in heaven with Jesus.
Chapter 4 is called “Rules versus Relationship”. Everyone knows that Christians aren’t supposed to have sex until marriage. That seems like a rule that we have to follow, but is that really what it is about?
One of the authors talks about how she tried to follow the “rules”, going as far as she could without breaking them. She found out later that it wasn’t about that and living by rules isn’t going to stop you from breaking them. Following rules is trying to build God into your life, but that is not what God intends…He wants you to build your life around Him.
This can be hard to understand for some people but there is a difference. Following rules means that you may not like the rules but you do them anyways. You can only follow “rules” that you don’t like for so long… Building your life around God means you do those things because you want to please God, you enjoy pleasing God. It isn’t just something you have to do, it is something you live to do.
“No matter how many rules we make for ourselves, rules don’t create a godly relationship. Only leaning on God alone and allowing Him to guide and direct every part of our existence will set the stage for a beautiful romance.” (and this goes for everything else in life) “When we learn who God really is and we base our decisions on a passionate love for Him, we find joy and delight in obedience. We even want to go the extra mile for Him.”
We don’t do these things because we have to, we do them because we love God. We don’t have to worry about how it will turn out because He loves us.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
So I started reading “when God writes your love story” a little while ago.. I’ve decided to write what I’ve learned from each chapter so far and then write a little bit about what I’ve learned about the most recent chapter.
Chapter 1 is called “The Babes and the Big Egos”. Basically it is about how in our culture guys and girls like to talk about their boy friends and girl friends as if having relationships with them is some sort of status symbol. The point of the chapter is that there isn’t really any point to having a relationship if that is all it is, if you aren’t some day looking to get married then what are you doing? Basically he says that you should trust God because he knows you better than you know yourself. That doesn’t mean that you should wait for God to plop someone down in your lap, but it does mean that you should be patient and discerning of who you feel like God is leading you to, if anyone at all at that point in your life.
I have to agree with this, I don’t see the point of dating to “try someone out”, if I’m dating then I probably already know them fairly well enough that I can make a reasonable decision of whether or not that are compatible with me. Although even though they may be compatible that doesn’t mean that it is the right time or place. I’m a college student, aka I don’t really have money to spend on a relationship. It is better to wait until I actually know where I am going in life than to try and bring someone along when I don’t even know what my plan is.
Chapter 2 is called “The Sweeter Song”. It basically says that if you wait for sex, love, etc you will enjoy it so much more. And I have to say I fully agree, not because I know what the sweeter song is yet, but I know what it feels like to search for it when you aren’t ready for it.
Chapter 3 is called “Who’s the Captain of Your Love Boat?”. Basically the question is, as a Christian who is directing your love life? You or God? Doing whatever you decide and then asking God to bless it is not how it goes, God doesn’t work that way. Maybe it isn’t time for love, maybe God is directing you somewhere else, let him be the captain and eventually you’ll find that he steers your ship towards love.